Bare Hands by Bart Moeyaert
, translation: David Colmer
(Front Street, 1998, 136 pages)
The story is set on the threshold of a new year, a cold windy New Year’s Eve. Two bosom friends, Ward and Bernie, have spent the day in an emotional conflict with themselves and the angry outside world. What began as a silly game-running away from an angry neighbour-escalated into a drama. Either by accident or design, Ward has killed a duck belonging to neighbour Betjeman, who, out of fury or grief, uses his artificial hand to do something really horrible to Ward’s dog. Although there are lots of indications that there is something seriously wrong with the dog, it is a long time before Ward can bring himself to recognise that his Elmer is dead.
There cannot be many writers as tough and sensitive as Bart Moeyaert - Marjoleine de Vos, NRC Handelsblad